Dear DAAA community,
Thank you for the opportunity to lead DAAA for the past three years. It has been an honor and privilege serving as your DAAA President, Chef de Mission and board member. Growing up in DAAA, it was always a dream of mine to engage the world and leading DAAA has been perfect. It was a joy to participate as your leader at all levels of sport and competition.
I'm happy to report we were active at the regional level. More and more chapters and regions are connecting with DAAA and hosting their own boccia events, swim clinics, soccer games and other sporting events.
If you're interested in seeing more regional events, or better yet organizing one, the possibilities are endless. We are currently looking to add more events, but we need local and passionate volunteers to make it happen.
At LPA National in Denver, we hosted boccia, revived the East vs. West softball game and organized an information workshop, introducing DAAA to new parents and featuring dwarf Paralympian, Sophia Herzog.
It was moving to lead Team USA at the World Dwarf Games in Guelph, Canada. Our team was one hundred sixty-two athletes and over three hundred Team USA spectators. We dominated the medal count (293!), lived and breathed sportsmanship, reconnected with old friends and made new international friendships. I am so proud our representation of the USA both at home and abroad!
In 2016, it was an honor organizing and hosting the 30th National Games at Boston University with over 200 athletes competing and in St. Louis the year before that! Both were great years with fantastic athlete participation and support.
The path to Paralympics is reviving with opportunities for dwarfs to compete in field throwing events, swimming, powerlifting, badminton and more.
Most importantly, I would not have been able to do it without volunteers and donors like all of you. Thank you for showing up at 6 am to tape boccia courts, thank you for organizing swimmers before their race, thank you for coaching a new independent junior team and showing them how to work together and have fun. Thank you for baking cakes to support DAAA and fund your journey to the Games, thank you for asking for donations to DAAA in lieu of birthday presents. You make DAAA happen and you are the reason DAAA continues to grow and thrive.
Thanks to our corporate sponsors and donors who support the DAAA in all these endeavors and fund the level playing field so vital to our mission.
DAAA is such a wonderful organization where I learned confidence and had the time of my life competing and playing sports with athletes my size. It inspired me to go home and train; running alongside my average height peers, coming in last but persevering knowing that my goal was to compete with peers and hopefully win a medal.
DAAA is a fantastic organization that supports and empowers athletes of all ages. If you need another reason to believe in DAAA, watch the Futures 40m dash or Futures Soccer game.
I loved being your President but now I'm getting ready for the toughest event of all: parenting. My husband, Ben, and I are expecting a baby boy with Achondroplasia in January 2018. We are excited to cheer everyone on in the Orlando Games next summer and can't wait for 2022 when he will be able to compete in Future events.
Great news is you are in good hands. I'd like to introduce you to your new DAAA President,Amy Morris, a fellow DAAA athlete with a heart of gold and strong passion for DAAA. She prepared for this role as LPA Liaison on the DAAA board previously and already has plans to help DAAA grow and flourish. I can't wait to see what she does!
Congratulations also to your new DAAA board: Vice President - Ted Hannes, Athletic Director - Mike Krajewski, Treasurer - Jennifer Hamill, Fundraising Chair - Brandi Van Anne, Secretary - Sarah Crouch, Athlete Manager - Amy Freeman, IT/PR/Marketing -Jeremy Harrison, Board Member - Jeni Brown.
I'd also like to give a big thank you to the amazing outgoing DAAA board members, Megan Schimmel and Jessica Markbreiter, who did a wonderful job keeping DAAA organized and financially secure.
Thank you again to all of your for your amazing support, participation and hard work.
I wish you all the best in the rest of 2017 and in the years to come and I look forward to seeing you all in Orlando or at a regional event.
Thanks again! GO USA!
PS. Appreciation to all of the volunteers and coaches who jumped in and helped out! Also, our amazing hosts for the World Dwarf Games, Heather Last Anderson, Derek Ferguson and their wonderful team of volunteers.
Huge thank you to the Team USA Leadership who made it happen - Assistant Chef- Ted Hannes, Mike Krajewski (Athletic Director/badminton), Amy Freeman (athlete housing/apparel), Jeremy Harrison (IT/coaching), Amy Morris, Brandi Van Anne and our amazing Team USA sport techs - Joann Cekanor (badminton), Pam Danberg (swimming), Scott Danberg (field), Shonna Schroedl (soccer and track), Pat and Julie Green (volleyball), Joe Foos (table tennis), Lynsie Pouliot (kurling), Neal Jones (soccer), Mike Cekanor (basketball), Darla and Alan Weststyn (boccia), Roger Pouliot (Denver boccia), Aric Smith (archery), Chris Kostas (powerlifting), Colin Kraft (floor hockey). I also want to thank our USA Flag Bearers, Amy Andrews and Connor Giofredda.
GO USA! Thank you also to our Team USA Sponsors: